night photography

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So I have to admit, I was a little hesitant to post this image. I wasn’t sure if it was appropriate but it’s such a cool shot! LOL.

I captured this image the same night I was out with my friend, Zack storm chasing. We actually started off the night at the Lincoln Memorial, figured the storm was moving in a direction that it would look cool at the Martin Luther King Jr Memorial and then eventually ended at the Washington Memorial. I didn’t expect the lightning so I didn’t have my tripod so to capture this, I was using the flower beds in the middle of the walk area as my support. But it’s so funny because this was the first shot that both Zack and I took at this location and we both caught the same lightning strike with the same point of view. LOL.

I blame the low hanging clouds. The clouds were hanging so low and heavy that there weren’t that many huge strikes that evening. If there was, they seemed to crawl horizontally across the sky. And since I was using the flower beds as support, I couldn’t fully see my composition so it was a happy surprise to see the leaves on top of the image. I think it frames everything so well.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/13th sec and ISO 1600 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm zoom lens.

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The last image I took at this sunset and night workshop was of my friend, Andy. He was smart enough to bring a flashlight with him and this image actually took a couple of tries.

Considering the fact that we were there with about 12 other photographers, everyone at different skill levels, it was hard to capture this image. We were all there trying to take night shots with Jimmy and Waldnilso but we weren’t sure if we were able to take some of our own. So as people were readjusting their focal points and things, Andy would run quickly to the George Washington’s bust and light it up in time for his own self-timer and he was kind enough to make sure I got the shot too.

But with all these attempts, the one at the very end, when everyone else was packing up,  turned out the best. And if you look closely enough, I even captured a shooting star! Which by the way, there were so many shooting stars that night! So fun!

If you want to check out Andy’s version of this image, click here. It’s awesome. He also made a youtube video about our experience that you can watch here.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 8 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle zoom.

That guy can stand very still for so long. LOL.

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Ok, enough chit chat. This was my FAVORITE part of the night. It was the “segment” when Waldnilso brought out his drone, attached some lume cubes to the bottom of it and started flying when it was crazy dark outside. This was the first time I’ve ever witnessed anyone flying at night and it was so cool. To be honest, I didn’t even know you could do it.

But the lights were surprisingly bright. The kind of bright that if you stared at them too long, you’ll start seeing stars. Even hovering over a president’s head for a little bit of time was enough to light them up for an exposure and it created some very interesting/creepy images.

But the best was when Waldnilso would circle around the presidents’ heads. At first, he did these circles which were really cool. He told us to hit our shutter when the drone was behind the head and then release it when it came back around for a very clean looking circle. Those images turned out cool but then he suggested spiraling around the heads. OMG! I moved my camera and tripod over to the side so I wouldn’t get a similar-looking image and I love the way that it turned out. I can’t even imagine what it takes to fly a drone at night but it was the coolest thing ever.

PS that light coming from the right-hand side of the image is the moonlight.

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 83 seconds and ISO 160 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens.

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And this is what it looks like when lightning strikes behind the clouds. I love the glow the clouds are giving off in this image. So much so that it’s kind of hard for me to say if I like this image better or the one I took of the actual lightning strike. There’s something about seeing all the definition in the clouds that I can’t stop looking at. Plus it’s incredible how much light actually comes from lightning. *trying my best not to reference Grease Lightning*

Let me know in the comments which one you prefer.

In other news, Andrew and I are headed to Oregon next week. I can’t wait. It’s our first times visiting and I’m really looking forward to spending time exploring the Pacific Northwest. You should see my google map. It’s filled with pins. Is it me or does it seem like everywhere you turn is another waterfall in Oregon? While I was doing some photo research, I read that someone called it the “Iceland of America”. I giggled but also really hope it’s true.

I also discovered that Oregon seems super dog-friendly. Out of all the places I was interested in going, Crater Lake National Park is the only place that dogs aren’t allowed to go. So with that in mind, Frankie’s coming on the trip with us too! I can’t wait to go on hikes with him and run on the beach. Don’t worry though, we bought a backpack for when he gets tired on the hikes 🙂 Can’t wait!!

My camera settings for this image is F4 at 1/5th sec and ISO 2000 with my Sony A7II and 16-35mm wide-angle lens with my tripod.

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I’m not sure when I started to become a sunset/night photographer but it just sort of started happening naturally. The summer days have been rough to wake up for sunrise but to be honest, the sunsets have been looking way better than sunrise anyways. Sunset around Washington DC has it’s own interesting challenges like parking and dealing with the crowds of people but the more I get out there, the more I’m appreciating the sunset glow more and more.

But this image came by accident. I was out with Zack (again, on a different night) to photograph the Lincoln Memorial at sunset. The sunset wasn’t really what we expected so we waited a bit longer for blue hour to try to capture the monuments at night. Then when I was about to say bye to Zack and walk back to my car, I saw a lightning bolt out of the corner of my eye.

OMG change of plans. I did not end up going back to my car, quickly texted Andrew that I was going to be home later than I expected and both Zack and I started looking at weather apps to see where the storm was headed. We made a game plan to try to capture it by the Tidal Basin and then as the storm moved forward we were going to try to capture it with the Washington Monument. It ended up being a super exciting night of storm chasing but the only problem was that I left my tripod in my car! Argh! Capturing lightning is significantly easier with a tripod and remote.

So I had to improvise. In order to capture this, I was basically just sitting on the ground hoping to get something. I was so lucky. But I also LOVE how the street lights are red. It’s sort of like a warning to not pass in case of lightning.

My camera settings for this image is f4 at 1/15th sec and ISO 1250 with my Sony A7II and 16-35 wide-angle lens.

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Last week was a pretty awesome week for storms. I’ll post more on that soon. But that doesn’t go so well with trying to capture the full moon rising.

Fortunately, I was out with my friend, Zack to capture it. It was his idea to head to Freedom Plaza to try to get the moon over the Capitol dome but things didn’t go as planned. It took a while for us to actually see the moon because of all the low hanging storm clouds. So I’m glad Zack was there to hang out with while we waited. If it weren’t for him, I probably would have just given up and left before we were able to see it.

I love how the moon looks like an orange ball of light in the sky. It’s a nice centerpiece to all the other lights going on in the image. By the way, I could have done without all the construction cones and lights. It seems like everywhere you turn there’s some kind of construction in Washington. This is along Pennsylvania Ave.

Anyways, I’ve made it an appoint to mark my calendar for the rest of the year for full and new moons. The best moons always happen in the fall time so I can’t wait to capture some more 🙂

My camera settings for this image is F5 at 1/5th sec and ISO 800 with my Sony A7II and 70-200mm on a tripod.